Google I/O is officially cancelled – which other tech shows are affected by Covid-19?
As the spread of Covid-19 spreads across the globe, the tech world is having to rethink how it launches new products and services – and nearly all tech events between now and July have either moved online or been cancelled.
Apple’s WWDC 2020 is now an online-only event, the brand also launched a new iPad Pro and MacBook Air in a virtual conference… and now Google I/O has been formally moved.
Back in February, Mobile World Conference’s cancellation tipped the first domino in many that have since fallen, and it’s likely to continue until the spread of the coronavirus outbreak is contained.
With E3 and Build also falling and finding other ways to display their messages to developers and fans, it’s clear that 2020 is going to be a year of disruption in the tech world, and that’s going to have an impact on the new devices we’ll be able to buy and when.
The biggest annual smartphone show was the first to go; on 12 February the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communication) announced it had canceled Mobile World Congress 2020. The confirmation came after Nokia, LG, Facebook, Sony, and other major names had already pulled out.
The impact: MWC has been a mixed bag of late when it comes to truly groundbreakling phone launches, but this year was set to be a big moment for 5G.
As CCS Insight put it, “the focus would have evolved from far-reaching demonstrations such as flying taxis and remote airships, to more realistic and pragmatic scenarios”. Without that futuristic vision being passed around the industry, it could slow down the impact of new and innovative ways of using 5G we’ve not yet thought of.
The phone launches themselves haven’t been cancelled, as some brands who were lined up for the show still made announcements, just with less fanfare. For example, Sony revealed its new Xperia 1 II flagship with a YouTube presentation and others are lined up to launch later in the year.
Then there’s the economic impact on Barcelona itself. “We’re looking for solidarity and everybody bearing their own costs,” Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA, told Bloomberg in an interview. “We’re an NGO and we don’t make a profit. We don’t have huge amounts of funds, and all our proceeds are funneled back into the industry.”